If you are married to narcissist, here's one reason to be hopeful:
There are gradations of narcissism. In my writings I refer to the extreme and ultimate form of narcissism, the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The prognosis for those merely with narcissistic traits or a narcissistic style is far better than the healing prospects of a full-fledged narcissist.
Still: don't confuse shame with guilt.
Narcissists feel shameful when confronted with a failure. They feel (narcissistically) injured. Their omnipotence is threatened, their sense of perfection and uniqueness is questioned. They are enraged, engulfed by self-reprimand, self-loathing and internalised violent urges.
The narcissist punishes himself for failing to be God â not for mistreating others.
The narcissist makes an effort to communicate his pain and shame in order to elicit the Narcissistic Supply he needs to restore and regulate his failing sense of self-worth. In doing so, the narcissist resorts to the human vocabulary of empathy. The narcissist will say anything to obtain Narcissistic Supply. It is a manipulative ploy â not a confession of real emotions or an authentic description of internal dynamics.
(From the book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin - Click on this link to purchase the print book, or 16 e-books, or 3 DVDs with 16 hours of video lectures on narcissists, psychopaths, and abuse in relationships: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)